Check out HOME OF THE WIND, the forthcoming documentary about Moonsorrow's first 20 years of history, based on this biography. Crowdfunding campaign starting in May!

27 September 2010

Chapter 8.1

Chapter 7 - Index - Chapter 8.2

Eighth chapter:
Infinity made into sound

On January 10th, the awaited album was finally released in Europe; Americans had to wait until April 26th. The cover artwork was made by Travis Smith, famous for his designs for Opeth, among others, and it shows an arid, rocky, burnt landscape, with a raven standing in a branch in the center of the image. The promo pictures were taken in Kaivopuisto park en Helsinki, and show the five members dressed in street clothes and simply standing, the predominant color being grey, or simply black and
white. V: Hävitetty entered the Finnish charts directly in the 16th position, as had already happened with Kivenkantaja, being also the highest position reached by a new album that week. In the German charts, it appeared in the 40th position. Marko was astonished: “What has to be done then to have it done uncommercial? Let's see, we don't have: 3 or 4 mins hit songs; music video; radio play; myspace; pretty boys or girls in the band”. What they did have was an album with only two half-an-hour long songs, full of depth and progression and very slow parts and sounds of nature and hearsh vocals and some blasting here and there. More or less, the sound continues the style of Verisäkeet, dark and atmospheric. Perhaps a little less aggressive. At the beginning and end of each song there’s a wind-like sound; that’s not an effect, it’s actual wind – a photo exists which shows Henri under a snowfall, recording with two antenna-looking devices. The
back cover of the album doesn’t show the songtitles, just the total playing time, I guess it was done in order to avoid the eventual buyer to think it’s a single or something like that. In that moment, Moonsorrow was already a well known band within the pagan scene, which partially explains the success in sales; but, despite that success, the album consisting of two hyper-long songs made many fans who preferred lighter stuff run in the opposite direction; many of them had started to lose hope after the radical change in Verisäkeet. In all the interviews that followed the release, they were asked about the reason of doing such long songs, and the answer was always the same: “In fact, it wasn’t exactly a decision. When we started writing material for the new album, we intended to make more songs,

Recording snowflakes
some six or seven, and easier to play live. But we soon realized the first song was becoming something totally epic! Then there was no turning back. We didn’t want to cut the song, so we did our best to maintain the intensity through the whole album. The arrangement of these long songs has been a very interesting project, and we’re extremely satisfied with the record. This time, the album was completely produced by Henri, so the sound is a bit different to Verisäkeet, but it still keeps the characteristic touch Moonsorrow’s known for.” “The song is ready when it's ready. It often happens that we have 10 minutes of material and the songs still seems to be needing something. The songs just kept stretching and stretching, and in the end we realised we are having these two massive tracks. And because they both have their musical structure very carefully thought, they definitely couldn't work as shorter tracks.” “When we finished the first song, we realised it was very very long. And then we said: let’s make another one!” “It's like a book, if you haven't reached the conclusion on page 20, you can't stop reading yet”.

Tuleen ajettu maa (7 minute extract)

Chapter 7 - Index - Chapter 8.2

11 September 2010

Chapter 7.1

Chapter 6.2 - Index - Chapter 8.1

Seventh chapter:
...More of the same

The new year started with the first concert overseas, in Minneapolis (Minnesota, USA) to be precise, on January 21st, together with, *drumroll*, Thyrfing and Primordial, which I guess made Ville clap his ears, since those are two of his most admired bands. That concert was followed by another one in Montreal two days later; this quick visit to North America was, rather than the beginning of a conquest, a reconnaissance mission, since they didn’t leave Europe any more that year. A year which was, by the way, quite calm for Moonsorrow, there’s little

Thomas Väänänen in TicoTico
to tell really. On March 7th they signed a new contract with Spikefarm for two more albums. Short after that, in April, they played all over central Europe in a tour called Heathen Crusade (I think the Minnesota concert was included in this tour, or something – however, the name was the same even though practically all the bands were different) together with Mourning Beloveth, Gardens Of Gehenna and, again, Primordial, being this the first time they went on tour with an important band in the pagan scene, and doubtlessly an important milestone in Moonsorrow’s history. They did eleven gigs in eleven days, visiting five countries: Hungary, Austria, Holland, Germany and Belgium.

The tour ended on April 16th, and short after that, Henri and Marko were already in Kemi recording a new album; to be precise, they entered Tico Tico on May 29th, in a moment when Lordi and heavy metal in general were in fashion, because the mentioned band had just won the Eurovision contest with an all-time record in votes, which brought about some jokes in the studio diary. The other three guys joined them the following week. The album’s working title was Homosika (gay pig), but this time they said since the
How not to get bored in a hotel
beginning that it was just that, a working title. Again they had a very special guest, this time on vocals: mister Thomas Väänänen, who used to sing in Thyrfing back then, and whom Ville cites as one of his main influences in his vocal style. In mid-June they left the studio, having recorded 98% of the material, and came back on the first half of August to record the choirs and mix the whole thing. This time around, they had better economical means than in the past; in Ville’s words: “We had a bigger studio budget than ever, counting up to 5 weeks reserved for recording and mixing the album, so the session was quite relaxed compared to some of the previous ones. In the end we even had time to delve into some details we used to be a bit more careless about, such as spontaneous vocal overdubs and all sorts of interesting panning experiments”. After recording, emptying a fire extinguisher over a cigarette, mixing, covering a hotel room in plastic and improving some details here and there, the last task was mastering, which took place in September. Not even then they wanted to reveal the final title or any other details. However, the promotional machinery had started to turn, and soon some info appeared in the internet: it would be called Viides luku: Hävitetty (fifth chapter: ravaged) and contain only two songs, with an approximate total playig time of one hour. Their titles: “Jäästä syntynyt/Varjojen virta” (born of ice/stream of shadows, being the former the intro), clocking up to thirty minutes, and “Tuulen ajettu maa” (a land driven into the fire), twenty-five. The working titles had been “Paskaa” (poo) and “Kusta” (pee), respectively. The release date was prudently set right after Christmas.

At some point this year they signed a contract with the booking agency
Atarfe 2006 (foto: Wikipedia)
Dragon Productions, which became noticeable the following year, during which the number of gigs almost tripled in comparison with this 2006 we’re talking about. Also, on March 11th they had come to Spain for the first time ever, to the festival Atarfe Vega Rock, province of Granada. They were the second band in the schedule, at about half past two in the afternoon and, as far as I’ve been told, the place got filled when the Finns went onstage, and half-emptied again when they finished; apparently many people attended that festival only to see them. Henri was there too.

"Unohduksen lapsi" in Budapest, April 5th, 2006

Chapter 6.2 - Index - Chapter 8.1